A pair of surveys show the psychological toll that the novel coronavirus outbreak is having on graduate students. A study in the United States found signs of depression have doubled among grad students during the COVID-19 pandemic, and indications of anxiety have risen 50%. Depression was most common among students in the physical sciences. Signs of mental distress were more common among low-income students, Latino populations and students from sexual and gender minorities. Rates of depression were the same among women and men, but women were more likely to report anxiety symptoms.
A survey in Canada found 72% of grad students were experiencing worsening mental health. Respondents expressed concern about their ability to complete their degree and financial hardship. More than a quarter of respondents said they were considering a long leave of absence.
“It’s hard to feel like any of your work matters,” Mounica Kota, a PhD student in behavioral ecology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, tells Nature.